Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: SAN ANTONIO, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders
Title: Why are my Spanish Oaks dropping branches that appear to be alive?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have two large Spanish Oaks that we planted ourselves. They both have begun to loose large branches that aren't dead. These branches just break off and fall. There is usually a wind, but not to the extent that limbs should fall off the trees. Is this a problem with these trees? Can we do anything to prevent it?

ANSWER:

This doesn't sound like a problem of the Spanish Oaks so much as it sounds like the oaks have some unwanted guests; twig girdlers. These are a type  of wood boring longhorn beetles that girdle twigs and branches and cause them to fall from the tree. Common hosts of the twig girdler include persimmon, pecan, elm, hickory, oak, honeylocust, hackberry, poplar, linden, redbud, basswood, dogwood and various fruit trees.

This Bulletin from the Texas Agricultural Extension Service describes the biology of the girdlers.

Have you examined the ends of the fallen branches? There should be some tell-tale signs if the beetles are the cause.

This article from the Alabama Agricultural Experinent Station has good illustrations of beetle damage.

My suggestion is that you get in touch with the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Bexar County, and show them the branches. They should be able to help you with this problem by identifying the culprit and suggesting treatment.

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

White fuzz on pine tree bark in Dartmouth MA
July 13, 2010 - We have white fuzz on our pine tree bark?
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
view the full question and answer

Problems with mountain laurel from Sunrise Beach TX
August 29, 2012 - In Llano Co., TX near lake LBJ, crushed granite type soil - my 4 - 5 year old TX Mtn. Laurels (2), about the size of large wheel barrows, are turning very pale, dropping leaves and on 1 the seed pods ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning live oak shoots from San Antonio
September 10, 2011 - I am new to TX and am curious about removing suckers/water sprouts from my Live Oaks. Everything I've read about pruning Live Oaks states that you must paint ALL cuts, so I assume that all means al...
view the full question and answer

Splitting bark on non-native mimosa from Buda TX
June 24, 2012 - What would cause my Mimosa tree to have splitting bark. I've only lived in this house for 8 months and am learning about this tree. The other tree seems fine. It looks as though it split and then ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.